Victoria Valenzuela | Clarion

DU Volleyball fell to the Oral Roberts (ORU) Golden Eagles on Saturday in three straight sets on the ORU court in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Set one ended 20-25, followed by a 17-25 loss in set two, and a final loss of 22-25.

The loss puts the Pioneers at a record of 12-5 on the season and 3-2 in Summit League play. The Golden Eagles advanced to an 8-10 overall record and 5-1 in league play.

Senior outside hitter, Cassie Baird (Indianapolis, Ind.) led the Pioneers with 10 kills and 11 digs, her fourth double-double of the year.  Baird hit .529 on the night as she led DU. Senior setter Piyusha Boteju (Euless, Texas) had 15 assists and freshman setter Ellie Anderson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) followed with 13 assists. Junior middle blocker Emma Willis (La Jolla, Calif.) had four total blocks, all assisted, for the Pioneers. Freshman middle blocker Tina Boe (Plymouth, Minn.) and junior libero Olivia Novotny (Germantown, Tenn.) had the two service aces in the match for the Denver Pioneers.

As a team Denver hit .221 in the match with 36 kills and 15 attack errors. DU had five total team blocks from 10 assisted blocks, 37 digs, 34 assists and two service aces.

The Golden Eagles started the match strong with a 7-2 lead that the Pioneers struggled to stub. After falling behind 11-5, Denver was able to get the lead down to three at 16-13, but ORU pushed it back out with a 7-0 run to make it 23-13. Down ten points, the Crimson and Gold fought hard, going on a 7-2 run making the score 24-20. ORU claimed the final set point, 25-20. Baird had four kills, Boteju had six assists, and Baird and Anderson each had three digs to lead the team. Junior outside hitter, Becca Latham (Austin, Texas)  and Boe combined for the lone assisted block in the set, and Novotny recorded her ninth service ace of the season. Overall, Denver hit a .343 from 15 kills.

The Pioneers turned the tables in the next set, stealing the lead with the first three points of the set from kills recorded by senior right-side hitter Kayla Principato (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) and Baird. The Golden Eagles came back to tie the set at four. There would be ties at five, six, seven, eight, before ORU used two-straight points to gain the lead 10-8. The Pioneers answered with a 2-0 run of its own, but ORU proceeded to score the next three points to pull away with a score of 13-10. Denver tried to close in on the Golden Eagles, getting as close as three at 20-17, but the Golden Eagles scored the next five points to take the set 25-17. DU hit .176, recording 13 kills as a team.

ORU continued to dominate in the third set, going on a 7-1 run to take an early 8-2 lead. The Pioneers rallied back, going on a 7-1 run as well, resulting in a 10-11 score, all thanks to kills from graduate student Teal Schnurr (Westminster, Colo.), Latham and Baird, a Boe service ace, and three Denver assisted blocks. Willis stole the set’s momentum with her three assisted blocks to drive the Pioneers within one point of the Golden Eagles. The Pioneers continued to keep the set within one at 12-11 and 13-12 before an ORU attack error tied the set at 13. The set continued with a series of runs from both teams resulting in the tight scores of 20-18 and 23-21, but ORU stole the set with a final run that ended with a 25-22 win. Denver recorded a struggling .115 on eight kills for the set, with Schnurr recording three of those to lead the team in the final set. Anderson and Boteju each had three assists. Willis had four assisted blocks, teaming up with Baird and Latham twice.

Denver will host Western Illinois and South Dakota on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.  Friday’s match will be Teacher/Faculty Appreciation Night, and Sunday’s match has been designated this year’s Pink Match.